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That’s What Gets Results!

Be on guard against the Scribes, who like to parade around in their robes and accept marks of respect in public
I Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146:7-10; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44

Sermon Week Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 12:38

Mark Twain, known as one of the nation's "greatest humorists and the father of American literature," would often use his quick wit to pick at the societal values of his day. For example, he wrote, "It's not the passages in the Bible that I don't understand that bother me so much. It's the ones I DO understand."

Today's Gospel Lesson includes a passage that no one can fail to understand. But, in varying degrees, it bothers all of us. Jesus is watching as the members of the worshipping congregation deposit their temple offerings into the collection basket. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow puts in a tiny amount. Jesus then calls His disciples to Him and says, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had ..." (Mk. 12:43-44).

The Lesson is unambiguous. Jesus could say that the poor widow put in more than the others because He knew that her gift, however small, was given from the heart. Her outward worship offering reflected the quality of her inner response to the experience of God's Loving Presence. Her gift of everything she possessed symbolized the unconditional surrender of her entire being to God.

Jesus often spoke of the necessity of detachment from material things in the new life of obedience to the will of God. "No one," he said, "can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon" (Mt. 6:24). He warned against storing up treasures on earth, for "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Mt. 6:19‚Äď21). He told the parable of a rich fool who "set aside material wealth for the future and then died before he could enjoy it" (Lk. 12:13-21). After meeting a rich young man who refused to follow him because of [...]

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